When married parents file for a divorce, the noncustodial parent will be responsible for paying monthly child support to the custodial parent on behalf of the child. Although child support is for a child’s shelter, food, education, medical care, and other basic needs, the monthly payments can be quite costly, which is why many paying parents are wondering when the payments will stop.
In Texas, child support generally ends when a child reaches 18 years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. But there are a few exceptions to the law.
The Child Has a Disability
If a child has a physical or mental disability and may not be capable of supporting himself/herself when he/she becomes an adult, child support may be ordered for an “indefinite period.” In other words, child support payments may last well into adulthood. The court will take into account the child’s current and future medical needs, each parent’s finances, and even state or federal programs that may provide additional care and funds.
The Child is Emancipated
Emancipation means a child younger than 18 years old legally no longer needs to be under the supervision of his/her parents. Since parents are not obligated to support a son or daughter who is no longer considered a child, the child support obligation will end. A child can be emancipated through a court order or marriage.
The Child Passes Away
If a child tragically dies, the noncustodial parent will no longer pay child support or pay the custodial parent what the child would have been owed if he/she was alive.
What Happens to Missed Child Support Payments?
Remember, if you owe arrearages (or back child support), you must continue making child support payments after the child turns 18 or graduates high school until the debt is paid in full (interest included). Even if the child becomes emancipated, the noncustodial parent will still be obligated to pay for owed child support.
If you are interested in modifying your child support order in Richmond, TX, call the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC at (832) 210-1698 or complete our online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation. Proudly serving clients in Fort Bend County and the surrounding region!